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As the company’s foremost brand steward, the CMO is entrusted with discerning the nuances of customer behavior — which can be mercurial in the best of times. In the wake of a global pandemic, however, closely followed by inflation, it’s evident why CMOs say their responsibilities have become more complex over the past two years.
They anticipate an evolution of their responsibilities, prioritizing collaboration with their C-suite peers on strategy decisions to expand the scope of the brand in the minds of customers — and ultimately, to grow the business. Technology is essential to this mandate, as is the need for timely, detailed customer data. When CMOs combine their front-line experience with their deep understanding of the business, they can deliver essential insights for continued corporate growth and resilience.
Brand matters. That’s what almost two-thirds of consumers (63%) from the latest PwC Holiday Outlook said when we asked what influences holiday shopping decisions. A strong brand is reinforced by positive customer experiences that drive loyalty and sustainable growth. So what keeps your customers coming back?
Technology underpins every aspect of marketing today. The right martech and adtech investments can enhance customer experience, generate predictive analytics, increase output and galvanize business growth. Demonstrating these results is more critical than ever for a CMO, especially in a budget-scarce environment.
Our research shows that less than half of CMOs plan tech investments in 2023. That might well be because they haven’t fully realized the benefits of current tech investments or because their staff isn’t fully upskilled; in fact, only 53% of CMOs say they currently provide tech training. CMOs will certainly want to wring all the utility they can from their existing technologies, including by training their teams. Without upskilled teams, success can be elusive.
The solution is not always more technology. Rather, CMOs should work to simplify their tech roster, reconcile process gaps and better connect existing systems to glean insights across platforms. More frequent assessments can confirm you’re achieving the results you seek while staying current on constantly changing regulations affecting privacy and security. That type of agility allows you to pivot as needed.
As choices for products and services proliferate, marketing leaders should consider finding new ways to create more immersive tech-enabled personalized experiences that can deliver targeted preferences. Often, this means exploring the new possibilities offered by the metaverse. For CMOs, this entails collaborating with CIOs and COOs to analyze operating models for gaps in efficiency, then making strategic investments in the most tech-forward capabilities.
From AI to machine learning, these technologies deliver the dynamic experiences and ultra-relevant content that can differentiate the brand — and forge deeper connections with current customers while attracting new ones. At the core is a laser focus on what matters to customers enough to keep them coming back.
Long-term growth and loyalty hinge on balancing values with capabilities. While consumer companies have long used loyalty programs, a similar approach in business-to-business (B2B) relationships is relatively new. CMOs developing these B2B relationships can start with their clients’ strategic goals, then transform client interactions into dynamic partnerships that promote mutual success.
After two years of leading their teams through a collision of turbulent conditions, it’s time for CMOs to reaffirm their strategic roles as business partners in the C-suite. This shift is essential for them to obtain the resources necessary to provide the customer experience essential to keep customers coming back, attract new customers — and ultimately, to drive growth. Satisfaction requires choreographing the delicate balance of what matters most to customers, from purpose and price to sustainability and value — while also charting outcomes internally to illustrate progress. CMOs are well-positioned to push the boundaries of innovation by exploring the potential of immersive virtual experiences in the evolving metaverse.
As marketing continues to evolve, it has transformed from an enabler into a driver of business growth. CMOs are charged with building a foundation of customer centricity, regardless of market conditions. During the early days of the pandemic, one company unlocked $1 billion by reexamining priorities, optimizing marketing investments and reinvesting in growth — despite significant volume disruption. The outcome? Increased market share across key channels and more than double the marketing ROI of its nearest competitor. Collaborating with their C-suite counterparts, CMOs can thus deploy analytics for a reimagined vision of marketing.
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Customers want to know what a brand stands for. They connect with — and reward — relatable brands. CMOs are at the forefront of shaping and communicating an authentic narrative that highlights sustainability and purpose, including the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy.
The CMO is well advised to stay in lockstep with the CEO on the substance and tone of a brand’s purpose. And to partner with the CIO and CFO for credible data that supports the company’s ESG story — as well as for insights into the habits and preferred channels of valued customers. After all, 60% of younger customers rely on social media to learn about a company’s ESG efforts.
A remarkable 93% of customers told us brand trust influences their buying decisions. And CMOs, who are in direct touch with customers far more than their C-suite peers, are charged with protecting and expanding that trust. Beyond compliance, ESG presents an opportunity to spotlight your company’s commitment to customers, the community and the planet.
Facing record inflation, customers are demanding ever-more value for their money, bringing a new urgency to the decisions surrounding marketing budgets. CMOs have an opportunity to team up with CFOs and CIOs to uncover the appropriate pricing strategy for their industry. By integrating marketing metrics with CRM and financial systems, they can develop a proactive pricing model for revenue growth management, trade promotions and more. A personalized approach — one in which alternative products, pricing and bundles are tailored to customer segments — can help manage costs as well as drive value for both the customer and the company.
Companies are looking to CMOs to shape product demand. From gathering trade promotion data to using advanced revenue management tools to analyze it, CMOs are spearheading the case to bridge departmental silos — further underscoring their growing influence across the enterprise.
Deep knowledge of the customer is the holy grail for CMOs. What channels do our customers prefer? How can we meet them where they want to be? Finding ways to translate that knowledge — via analytics — into insights for the entire organization affords CMOs the authority to contribute to strategy decisions. Data fuels business decisions, connecting marketing to sales and increasing effectiveness while also bolstering competitive advantage.
In the wake of regulatory changes to third-party data collection, a robust first-party data strategy that respects customer privacy can position the company as a leader. Customers provide their data in return for a value-exchange such as personalization and rebates. An alternative could be partnerships with companies that already aggregate customer data.
To be effective, CMOs should have the ability to uncover actionable insights from customer data. The vast troves of available data make it nearly impossible to do that without analytics, machine learning and iterative test-and-learn techniques. CMOs also need the right metrics to confirm they are delivering business-relevant insights that allow the company to innovate and grow — by delivering a targeted, personalized, differentiated customer experience.